Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
ARLINGTON – Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield says winning a national championship, not the Heisman Trophy, is his main goal. The odds-on favorite for college football’s most cherished award, who adorns this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated, can take another big step toward accomplishing both feats on Saturday afternoon when the Sooners face TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.Heisman voters must turn in their ballots by 5 p.m. ET on Monday so this is Mayfield’s last chance to hammer down the award after finishing third last season and fourth in 2015. Oklahoma also enters the contest No. 3 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings so a win over the Horned Frogs would also likely lock up one of the four spots in the CFP. Mayfield threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for 50 yards when the teams met on Nov. 11, a 38-20 victory by the host Sooners who raced out to a 38-14 halftime lead and coasted to an easy win. “For me, that would be something special,” Mayfield said Monday when asked at a press conference about what it would be like to win the Heisman. “I’m not going to downplay that and act like it’s not a big deal. But I didn’t come back here to win a Heisman. I came here to win a national title. For me, the mindset is I have to win against TCU and then win two more games after that.”
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox LINE: Oklahoma -7
ABOUT TCU (10-2): Coach Gary Patterson is going with the old “pressure is on them, we have nothing to lose” strategy going into this one. “There’s no pressure here for us. This is all gravy here,” Patterson told reporters. “You’ve got a chance to play in a championship game, it’s good for recruiting, you’ve got a chance to play in the metroplex, everybody gets a chance to see us.” The Horned Frogs, who will be minus starting safety Nick Orr who will be suspended the first half for throwing a punch in last week’s win over Baylor, must get a much better effort defensively this time around after allowing 533 yards, including 200 rushing, in the first meeting while quarterback Kenny Hill (19 touchdown passes) must find the end zone after going just 13-of-28 for 270 yards and one TD in the loss to the Sooners in Norman.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (11-1): Mayfield has completed 247-of-346 passes (71.4 percent, No. 1 in the nation) for 4,097 yards, 37 touchdowns and five interceptions and his pass efficiency rating of 203.3 is on target to be an NCAA record but Oklahoma is hardly a one-man show. Running back Rodney Anderson had 290 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in the first meeting against TCU, including 151 yards rushing and two TDs against a Horned Frogs defense that entered the contest allowing a nation-low 69.7 rushing yards per game, while junior tight end Mark Andrews leads the team in receptions (51) for 848 yards and six touchdowns and is one of three finalists for the Mackey Award. Senior defensive end/outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo leads a defense that has improved steadily during the season with 8.0 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.
1. Oklahoma has scored at least 30 points in 21 of its last 22 games and came up just a point short of that feat in the other, a 29-24 win over Texas on Oct. 14.
2. Mayfield has thrown a touchdown pass in a Big 12-record 38 consecutive games.
3. DE Ben Banogu, a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, leads TCU’s defense with 7.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.